Billeder på siden

other hand, though inspired and animated by thoughts of the unseen and eternal, cannot lose sight of the concerns of this life, which is indeed the preparation for it; for it is upon our conduct here that our happiness hereafter of necessity depends.2

mortality as well as for earth should man be trained.”—(W. J. Fox.) “In training up your children make your arrangements for them in this world in view of the next. Let eternity be kept in sight. In all your plans for them, contemplate not only their temporal but their everlasting interests." (Parental Care.) "We have a thorough belief that the great secret of training lies in the always regarding the child as immortal. The moment that this is kept out of sight we scheme and arrange as though the child had to live only upon earth, and then our plans, not being commensurate with the vastness of their object, will necessarily be inadequate to the securing of its good."-(Rev. H. MELVILLE: Sermons.) "Happy is the man who has been led to believe that he acts his part in the world always under the observation of the divine author of his being, who, in a future state of existence, will reward those who do right in the present. Such belief to the person who holds it clothes all around in brightness; it enhances every enjoyment in life, and alleviates any suffering that may befall. By so believing, a person is made better in all the relations of society-a better parent, friend, servant, subject, neighbour, &c.; in no one respect can he be made worse."-(Dr. NEIL ARNOTT.)

"This life is the time of our preparation for our future state. Our souls will continue for ever what we make them in this world. Such a temper and disposition of mind as a man carries with him out of this life he shall retain with him in the next."-(Archbishop TILLOTSON : Sermons.) "The stones which are appointed for that glorious temple above are hewn and polished and prepared for it here, as the stones were wrought and prepared in the mountains for building the temple at Jerusalem." (Archbishop LEIGHTON: Sermons.) "Besides the having a right to heaven, it is necessary to our enjoying it that we should be antecedently disposed and qualified for it" by "the practice of those heavenly virtues, in the perfection whereof the happiness of heaven consists."(Dr. SCOTT: Christian Life.) "All the objective glory in heaven would not, in our beholding and enjoyment of it, if it were possible, make us blessed and happy, if our own natures were not made perfect."(Dr. OWEN.) "What is perfected hereafter must be begun here."-Dr. WHICHCOTE.) "What we expect shall be one day perfect, we must labour, may be, in the meantime always growing."- (JOHN HOWE.) "No soul of man hath any more of heaven, nor ever shall have, than he hath of God, and of his pure, placable, patient, benign, and gracious nature."-(SHAW: Immanuel.)

2 66

God has given to man a short time here upon earth, and yet upon that short time eternity depends." (JEREMY TAYLOR.) "We are at present in a state of discipline for eternity. . . . And it is by acting virtuously in every circumstance of this state, that we can be improved in holiness, and become fit for heaven."-(Dr. A. GERARD: Sermons.) "Every action that we do in this life will have a good or bad influence upon our everlasting condition, and the consequences of it will extend themselves to eternity." (Archbp. TILLOTSON: Sermons.) "The moral quality of conduct, as it serves both to ascertain and to form the character,

It is religion, then, that gives to education its proper direction, that imparts to it its highest motives.1 It is this that sets the various objects of pursuit or desire in their true light, that enjoins the search after truth and the practice of virtue by higher considerations than mere reason or philosophy could supply. If we look at even the highest

has consequences in a future world so certain and infallible, that it is represented in scripture as seed no part of which is lost; for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.'"-(ROBERT HALL.)

1 "If their children were creatures of time, and designed only for the enjoyment of this life, it were reasonable that they should be wholly educated according to its maxims. But seeing they are born to the hopes of a better world, it is but just that their education should be suitable thereto; that is, that they should be trained up in the knowledge and practice of those things which qualify us for the enjoyments and employs of the future happy state."- (GEORGE MONRO: Christian Education.) "The Christian religion affords men the most perfect instructions possible in the ways of virtue; and arguments infinitely strong to enforce the practice of it."(Dr. S. CLARKE: Sermons.) "It builds our duty upon most solid grounds, presses it with most valid inducements, draws it from the best principles, and driveth it to the best ends. No philosophy can, in any measure, represent virtue so truly estimable and eligible; can assign so evident and cogent reason why we should embrace and strictly adhere to it; none can so well discover or describe the excellent fruits that grow upon it as doth this philosophy of ours, as the ancient fathers are wont to call it."-(Dr. ISAAC BARROW.) "Persons devoted to piety are on divers accounts most likely to make a notable progress in knowledge. Their minds are generally tractible and docile, and prepossessed in favour of truth. Their motives to study likewise are stronger; for besides the common ones of amusement, curiosity, emulation, and the like, a good man is sensible that he is not sent into the world for nothing; he knows that he hath a work to work, and, therefore, whatever it be he applies himself to it in earnest."--(Dr. FOTHERGILL; Religion and Learning.) "A hearty faith in the future world multiplies the reasons and motives for living a good life in this world."-(Rev. R. W. DALE.)

2 It is 66 a peculiar excellence of our religion that it prescribes an accurate rule of life, most agreeable to reason and to our nature, most conducive to our welfare and content, tending to procure each man's private good, and to promote the public benefit of all."-(Dr. ISAAC BARROW: Sermons.) Religion "enables a man to propose to himself the best end; namely, the glory of God, and his own assimilation to God."— (Rev. J. SMITH: Discourses.) "That the convictions of religion form the great foundation of moral conduct, that piety in itself is fitted to exalt the human mind to its greatest degree of virtuous perfection, are truths which every one acknowledges, and which the experience of mankind sufficiently proves." (Rev. A. ALISON: Sermons.) "As, indeed, there is nothing of real importance in the moral or intellectual business of human life, the source of which does not lie in a profound and more or less conscious relation of man and his concerns to God and divine things, it is impossible to conceive a nation worthy of the name or entitled to be called in any sense great, whose political existence is not constantly elevated and guided by religious ideas."-(Prof. RANKE: History of Re

efforts of the greatest minds of classical antiquity, men whose works are read and studied with admiration even in the present day, we find when they come to deal with those questions that are of the deepest interest to man-as the existence and character of God, the immortality of the soul, the origin of evil, the nature of true virtue, the right and the expedient that they come miserably far short of the principles of morality and religion as revealed to us in Scripture.1 Even when in some few instances, as by a species of divine inspiration, we find them soaring far above the confines of reason, they are unable to give an account of the faith that is in them, and they failed to carry conviction to the minds of those among whom they lived."

formation.) "I believe you will find in all histories . . . that no nation that did not contemplate this wonderful universe with an awe-stricken and reverential feeling that there was a great unknown, omnipotent and all-wise and all-virtuous Being superintending all men,-all men in it and all interests in it-no nation ever came to very much, nor did any man either, who forgot that."-(T. CARLYLE.)

1 "The most exalted capacities, that soared as far as reason could lead them without any superior assistance, always found themselves entangled in extricable difficulties." (ELLIS: On Divine Things.) "The better sort of them. . . . discoursed yet with much uncertainty and doubtfulness concerning things of the highest and most universal importancethe providence of God in governing the world, the immortality of the soul, and a future judgment."-(Dr. S. CLARKE: Sermons.) "Our modern civilization-what it is as compared with the partial refinements of the ancient world-is in a word the consequence of that gospel which has given to the individual man his conscience towards God, his hope of immortality, and his sense of responsibility towards the unseen judge and the future tribunal."-(ISAAC TAYLOR.) "In the Bible alone we learn the real character of the Supreme Being; His holiness, justice, mercy, and truth; the moral condition of man, considered in his relation to Him, is clearly pointed out; the doom of impenitent transgressors denounced; and the method of obtaining mercy through the interposition of a divine mediator plainly revealed."-(ROBERT HALL.)

2" Endowed with a religious principle, men feel themselves constrained by the highest wants of their nature to seek after God; and yet when left to their own unaided efforts, it has ever been only as one who gropes in the dark, and at a peradventure that they have pursued their search. In a few rare instances the object of search seems to be touched-not seen as in the clear light of day, or as by an illuminating torch,-but imperfectly discerned by the dullest of the senses. To a few of the higher and purer spirits, men of calm and serene thought and purged vision, there came like angels' visits, ever and anon, brief and transient glimpses through the gloom, revelations of the hidden mystery, just and true thoughts of the Infinite.”—(Dr. W. L. ALEXANDER: St. Paul at Athens.) How true soever it be (as most true and certain it is) that the principles of true religion are perfectly agreeable to nature and reason, and may

[ocr errors]

Education, on the other hand, is necessary to religion, in order to the forming and building up of the Christian character. Religion is a work as well as a faith, an art as well as a science, and while as a faith it imparts to us a knowledge of things not seen, as a science, reveals to us the highest principles and rules of conduct; yet the great object and design of these is to stimulate us to a right and virtuous course of action, to lead us to the attainment of a holy life.3 even demonstrably be deduced from thence by irresistible arguments; yet so it was that few or none of these most learned philosophers, either themselves saw and traced this light of reason and truth, or dared to discover and recommend it to others."-(Dr. S. CLARKE: Sermons.) "We assert on the one hand that from every mind there are reflected the living lineaments of the true God; and yet, on the other, that unaided reason has failed to develop them, except in a partial way."- (Dr. McCоSH.) Plato himself confesses "that to discover the Master and Father of the universe is difficult," and adds "that when discovered, it is impossible to speak of Him to all." "I believe that the unassisted efforts of man's reason have not established the existence and attributes of Deity on so sure a basis as the Deist imagines."-(ARTHUR H. HALLAM.)

1 As absurd would it be for us to flatter ourselves with a hope "that God would feed our children by a miracle while we kept them destitute of all necessary food," as that they "will be taught of God and regenerated by the influence of His grace if we neglect that prudent and religious care in their education which Solomon urges in the words of my text, 'Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.'"-(Dr. DODDRIDGE: Sermons.) "Underlying all Christian nurture we have this unchanging principle, that if we 'Train up a child in the way he should go, when he is old he will not depart from it."(RALEIGH: Christianity and Progress.)

2 "Religion may be viewed in two aspects. It is a science and it is an art; in other words a system of doctrines to be believed and a system of duties to be done."-(Dr. CAIRD: Religion in Common Life.) "Were I to define Divinity, I should rather call it a Divine Life than a Divine Science . . . He who is most practical in divine things has the purest and most perfect knowledge of them."- (Rev. J. SMITH: Discourses.)


"It is not profound speculation but a holy life that makes a man righteous and good, and dear to God."-(A KEMPIS.) "It is utterly impossible that any speculation, opinion, profession, enjoyment, ornament, performance, or any other thing but the transformation of the mind into the very image and nature of God should ever be able to perfect our souls, or commend us unto God."-(SHAW: Immanuel.) Every man is a real believer to the extent to which he is a real doer."-(PAXTON HOOD.) "No profession of religion whatsoever is of any advantage farther than it influences men by its obligations and by its motives to the practice of righteousness and true virtue."—(Dr. S. CLARKE: Sermons.) Assuredly in the approaching day of universal judgment it will not be inquired what we have read, but what we have done; not how eloquently we have spoken, but how holily we have lived."-(A KEMPIS.) "The great design of God in His saving mercies is to transform us into the image of His unspotted holiness. We are elected to be holy, redeemed to be holy,


Education, then, comes to show how Christian faith and principles are to be brought to mould and animate the daily life, how religious thoughts and feelings are to be carried out into practice. The Christian ought ever to bear in mind that though it is his duty to cultivate and cherish religious feelings and emotions, these are only means to an end, and that the great end and design of these as of every other kind of feeling or emotion is to incite to action.2

called to be holy, and at last we shall be received into heaven and made glorious in holiness, without spot or blemish."-(BATES: Spiritual Perfection.) We shall be saved by grace... but it is equally certain


that without holiness none shall see the Lord; and it must needs be that the sanctification of the heart should have for its effect the sanctification of the conduct."-(VINET.) "The main design of Jesus Christ was to promote in us a holy life.... He suspends all true acquaintance with God upon doing God's will. If any man will do His will he shall know of the doctrine."-(Rev. J. SMITH: Discourses.) Christianity "is the religion of reality, of action, of life. . . . It at once stimulates and sanctifies activity. The more faith acts the stronger it grows, the more love acts the more it loves."—(VINET.)

1" Devout and pious soul that desirest to see God dwelling in thee and his love within thy heart, cleanse the tablet of thy understanding from so many errors, prejudices, and vain imaginations, and evil thoughts; and cleanse the tablet of thy will from so many criminal inclinations and evil habits.”—(FLEETWOOD: Method of Devotion.) "All human actions depend on the will and power; and if either of these is wanting nothing can be accomplished; for if there be no will, no action is attempted; and if there be no power the will is fruitless."--(BOETHIUS.) "The natural powers of man must be honoured as the necessary instruments of the Spirit of God whose operation is a dream, if it be not through knowledge, intellect, conscience, and action."-(EDWARD IRVING.) "The scope of my work," says Mr. Marshall, "is to teach you how you may attain to that practice and manner of life which we call holiness, righteousness, or godliness, obedience, true religion, and which God requireth of us."(On Sanctification.)


2 Some put all religion in the affections, in rapturous heats and ecstatic devotion; and all they aim at is to pray with passion and think of heaven with pleasure; and to be affected with kind and melting expressions, wherewith they court their Saviour till they persuade themselves that they are mightily in love with him; and from thence assume a great confidence of their salvation which they esteem the chief of Christian graces. Thus are those things which have any resemblance to piety, and at best are but means of obtaining it, or particular instances of it, frequently mistaken for the whole of religion; nay, sometimes wickedness and vice pretend to that name." (SCOUGAL: Life of God.) "These inward delights and enjoyments are not holiness, they are not piety, they are not perfection; but they are God's gracious allurements and calls to seek after holiness and spiritual perfection. They are not to be sought for for their own sakes, they are not to be rested in as the perfection of our souls; but to be received as cordials that suppose us to be sick, faint, and languishing."-(WM. LAW: Christian Regeneration.) "The ecstasies of


« ForrigeFortsæt »